We Tried It: Bridgestone B330 & B330-S

Bridgestone's Latest Balls...Tested

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Cover: The cover of the golf ball has the greatest impact on shorter shots around the green and greatly determines the amount of spin a ball can create. The softer the cover, the more friction there is between the ball and clubface, thus creating more spin and also producing a lower launch angle. The B330-S has a slightly softer cover than the B330, thus it has more spin around the greens for players who require added control.

Outer Mantle: The high spin that the cover of the ball can generate is preferred on short chip shots around the green, however it can be a detriment to distance and accuracy on longer full shots. In an effort to counteract the increased spin off all other full shots as a result of a soft cover, the mantle layers mainly work to reduce spin. The outer layer primarily impacts spin performance on mid- to short-iron full shots where the ball isn’t severely deformed at impact. It helps reduce spin and produces a higher launch for greater distance.

Inner Mantle: The inner mantle also impacts spin performance, especially on driver and long-iron shots where the golf ball is greatly deformed at impact. And it works to reduce spin, providing a higher launch angle and longer carry distance.

Core: Finally, the core of the golf ball is the main engine for distance on full shots, while it also has a large impact on the way a ball feels to the player. The B330 has a firmer core, meaning it feels firmer than the softer core found in the B330-S. The core of the B330 produces a higher initial velocity, generating greater ball speed. —Brandon Sowell, Bridgestone Golf

Specs: Four-piece construction, urethane cover, 330 dimples.

Performance: We were big fans of the previous B330-S, which made us even more curious about any new improvements made to the 2011 model. When comparing overall shot length, the B330-S had the distance we’d come to expect, but with a higher trajectory than we found with the B330. It’s not like that’s a bad thing; in fact that’s exactly what’s expected with this ball. With drivers and even with woods, we found the B330-S to have a soft feel with comparable distance to last year’s versions.

With approach shots, pitches and chips, it’s a whole different story. The B330-S, already dubbed as a higher-spinning ball, spun like crazy with short shots! Maybe this is a reaction to the reduction in groove sharpness, but the B330-S had ample bite to help negate the new rulings. The higher the lofted iron, the more spin it seemed we were able to generate. Now, mind you, our “test” was no more than an actual playing test with no scientific data to back it up, but we can say confidently that we saw significant spin with our shorter iron shots. No doubt. We saw a boost in trajectory, as well. With pitches and chips, the B330-S spun more than the B330, but not so much that we had a hard time controlling our shots.

Bottom Line: The B330-S felt softer than the B330, and had a higher trajectory and more spin with virtually every club in the bag. Around the greens, these balls were real showstoppers, showing they have plenty of bite and stopping power where it’s needed most.


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